Starbucks Supporting Refugees

Posted by Cori Hoberman
(@Cori Hoberman)


Howard Schultz
Photo by: David Ryder | Reuters

Starbucks Accelerates Change

When Howard Schultz, the CEO of the Starbucks Corporation, announced on World Refugee Day that Starbucks plans to hire 2,500 refugees within its European Coffee Shops located in: Spain, the UK, France, Austria, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the haters started using the power of the hashtag to try to prevent this from happening. But even with all the continuous hate and backlash, Starbucks is still willing to take a risk in order to fulfill its overall goal of hiring 10,000 refugees within 75 countries over the next 5 years.

Although many Americans find this notion to be completely outrageous, others seem to find it beneficial, based on the statistics found within the current refugee crises.  John Kelly, the Senior Vice President of Global Public Affairs and Social Impact describes the current issue as “the worst global refugee crisis since World War II.” He continues on by saying, “More than 65 million people are displaced around the world, and many of them are highly qualified and undervalued.”


Image result for refugees at starbucks
Photo by: Fortune

Schultz’s Response To President Trump

Schultz addressed the Executive Order made by President Trump to temporarily ban refugees, and citizens within seven primarily Muslim countries, from entering the U.S by sending a message to every Starbucks employee. In it, he says,

We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question. These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past. Kevin and I are going to accelerate our commitment to communicating with you more frequently, including leveraging new technology platforms moving forward.  I am hearing the alarm you all are sounding that the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack, and want to use a faster, more immediate form of communication to engage with you on matters that concern us all as partners.”

He finishes the message with, “So, while we seek to understand what the new Administration’s policies mean for us and our business both domestically and around the world, I can assure you that we will do whatever it takes to support you, our partners, to realize your own dreams and achieve your own opportunities. We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time – whether that neighborhood is in a Red State or a Blue State; a Christian country or a Muslim country; a divided nation or a united nation. That will not change.  You have my word on that.”

But unfortunately for Schultz, the concerns for his plan go far beyond his employees.


Image result for starbucks employee
Photo by: Find Dream Jobs

American Consumer Concerns

American consumers turned to Twitter, using the hashtags #BoycottStarbucks and #AmericaFirst, to voice their concerns. Many have expressed that their frustrations come from the fact that the company is planning to hire “people who don’t belong here.” As a result, rumors have even begun to spread claiming that Starbucks is apart of a terrorist organization, which has struck fear amongst many of its consumers.

Along with the hashtags, consumers continue to disclose that their loyalty no longer lies with Starbucks. In fact, they plan to get their daily cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts from now on. With the rise of terror attacks around the world, it’s understandable as to why American would react this way, but what about the hundreds of thousands of refugees who just want the same freedom we have the privilege to experience every day?


Image result for tweets about starbucks and refugees
Photo by: BuzzFeed
Photo by: BuzzFeed


Starbucks’ Response to the Backlash

After receiving an enormous amount of backlash, representatives for Starbucks released a statement saying, “Our company’s mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time in neighborhoods all over the world. We make decisions based on our mission, values and heritage and we recognize that sometimes there are some who may disagree with us. We respect the diverse points of views held by our partners and customers and will continue to listen.”

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